Saturday, September 24, 2005

Is it Possible?

Will we actually see the end of the beaucratic, convoluted and paper trail of the IRS? Will we actually see the U.S. be able to ward off recession and actually balance the budget? Will the working class no longer have to be the largest tax paying segment of our population? Will you actually be able to take home your paycheck without tax deductions as long as your arm?
The answer is yes, IF the present Fair Tax bill on the floor of congress is passed (HR 25 in the House, S25 in the Senate). It is the first bill that can actually work to accomplish all of the above--and more.
If you don't know what it's all about, visit and find out. It is time for reconstruction, not restruction. It is time for our consumerism to become a tool to get us out of debt; a time to show the world how capitalism really works in a Republic based on Democratic principles; to show the world we really are a nation governed by, of and for the people.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Who's fooling who...

when the oil companies say it costs them a million dollars to shut down one oil platform in the Gulf and then another million to put it back into operation? And they have already shut down over a thousand because of Hurricane Rita. Do you think they'll lose this money? Of course not...we'll make it up for them by paying more at the pump.

Over sixty percent of our crude oil is imported and our refineries cannot refine enough to keep up with demand already. If this is true, why have one hundred and eight-some refineries shut down since 1988?

Personally, I think the oil companies are more adept at 'gaming' than the Casinos. The only difference is you don't have to gamble but most Americans have to drive to get to work, no matter how bad the oil companies gig them. The upper two percent, as usual, are laughing all the way to the bank, boardroom, or country club, laughing at how easily they can dupe the middle class.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Kurt Vonnegut on Imagination

Kurt Vonnegut appeared on the Daily Show Tuesday night to promote his new book 'A Man without a Country'. Although he's in his early eighties he seems to have lost none of his acumen and humour. Vonnegut never enjoyed appearing in public and his interview was much too short.
There are not enough humourists around anymore, at least those able to be humourous without the shock value of foul language which is used so much anymore it no longer has any value.

The essay in his new collection on imagination, however, I will disagree with. He likens the slick productions of movies and television and the information highway as having displaced the need for imagination circuit teachers who, by using reading and story telling in the classroom, built these imagination circuit in youngsters of his day (which was my day too). He writes: "Those of us who had imagination circuits built can look in someone's face and see stories there; to everyone else, a face will be just a face." I would argue that these new forms of media will only enhance imagination and the rampant illiteracy on the information highway will eventually disappear because, much like a badly written novel, the badly written discourse on the information highway will simply be ignored.

In her essay, 'The Future is Now', in this Octobers issure of Writer's Digest, Kevin Smokler deals with this issue and I think she's right on track.

My point is, without imagination, no matter how the circuit is created, none of the media would or will be possible...and, for writers, there will always be the old question hanging in the air: 'What if...'. Nothing gets a writer going more than a good old "What if?"

Our job, especially as bloggers (and sometimes actually published writers) is to encourage the new and sometimes not-so-literate blogger to keep writing, but to keep writing better. And, of course, you're always going to have those whom take no one's advice, but they'll soon be offline and never in print.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

An Analogy to Ponder

Our nation is set up like a highrise building: The top two floors contain the luxurious offices of financiers and big corporate offices, CEO's of oil companies, Big Media, and large land owners. The five or six floors below them are the offices of the 'climbers': lawyers, doctors, bankers, mortgage holders, etc. (the moderately rich). On the next few floors, down to the 71st floor, are management level offices who follow orders sent down from the floors above: the stockbrokers, accountants, and other hands on folks scrambling for the upper floors. The 70th floor is a conglomeration of hundred-dollar-a-plate restaurants, high fashion clothiers, high-priced gifts and high-priced jewelers, catering to the wealth on the floors above. From the sixty-ninth floor down to the 2nd floor are the folks who maintain the highrise: the janitors, maids, hard maintenance and other general laborers who make from a barely livable wage to what goverment erroneously calls the middle-incomer. Some have amenities like health insurance and a very few of the unusally thrifty have 401k's and IRA accounts. They all have multiple credit cards (the modern day equivlicant of the old company store chits) that keep ninety-nine percent of them in debt up to their neck...and they are unaware that 'usury' is no longer an acceptable word by the government and, most especially, in financial circles of power.
The first floor of the highrise contains a shopping mall interspersed with fast food eateries for the folks on the second to sixty-ninth floor, where they eat and spend the rest of their lunch hour (or hiding from the boss time) buying junk they don't need with their plastic money.
The first floor is surrounded by plate glass windows and covers a square block. Everyday, especially at breakfast and lunch, people pass by and look hungrily in, wishing and wondering why they can't get in through the locked doors. The building contains twenty-thousand people.
The passerbys number in the hundreds of thousands-- they are the poor. The upper top floors have no interest in seeing them as they are simply a waiting labor pool to draw on when the people working inside the building demand better wages. There has never been, and probably never will be, any other connection between them. What a wonderful government our forefathers established.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

God calls Dubya

Dubya: Hello? Who is this? Is this a test?

God: This isn't a test, Dubya, this is God. I called you on the red phone because I know you don't ever answer the others.

Dubya: Well, a big ole White House howdy, God. Haven't heard from you since you made me one of your chosen hundred thousand.

God: As long as you brought it up, there is no chosen hundred thousand, Dubya. Someone's shucking and jiving you but we'll talk about that some other time...I don't want too many ideas bouncing around in your already convoluted brain right now.

Dubya: Love yer sense of humour, Lord...

God: Knock it off, Dubya, and wipe off that condescending grin, which is another subject we'll discuss another time.

Dubya: Sorry, Lord, but it's almost breakfast time and you know how I love a big breakfast, yum, yum!

God: Pay attention, Dubya! The reason I called is to chew your butt out.

Dubya: What for? I've been doing a great job as President! Workin' hard chasin' after them evil-doers like a sheriff with a pack o' bloodhounds! Why just yesterday...

God: Quiet! Listen up! What I called about is this national day of prayer you're calling for...who put you up to that? if I didn't know.

Dubya: Well, I got to do somethin', Lord! The polls say I'm losin' my standin'...and I been workin''s hard work bein' President...

God: I know what you're up to, Dubya...and don't give me that whine; you were already slipping way down before Katrina. Remember Iraq? I watched those fools in the Crusades do the same thing...

Dubya: The Crusades?

God: Forget it, I know how much you read history. Anyway, you need to do a couple of things if you want to keep me happy.

Dubya: Anything you want, Lord...I been workin' hard on that...

God: First, quit shoving your religion down peoples throats. One of the reasons I gave humans free will is so they'd think for themselves. Secondly, lower the gasoline prices. Your family and good buddies are rich enough and surely you know how I feel about avarice.

Dubya: Avarice? Uh...

God: Greed, Dubya, greed! And quit using your army to conquer the world. There's a whole bunch of past aggressors rotting in hell who tried the same thing. And fourth, quit taking the Bible so literally. I didn't write it and, if I did, I would have not resorted to parables so every Tom, Dick, and Herod could create their own theocracy. Just adopt Jesus' philosophies because he actually did speak for me. You don't seem to be paying much attention to what he said.

Dubya: Well, okay, God...I'll work hard on that!

God: Good. That's all...for now, anyway.

Dubya: Uh, could I ask you a question, Lord?

God: What's your question?

Dubya: Do you think Hillary can beat Jeb in the next election?

God: First, let me ask you if you think I am a man or a woman?

Dubya: What? Uh...uh...

God: You 'work hard' on that question, Dubya...maybe when you figure it out you can figure out the answer to your own question.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Speaking of Think Tanks...

...wouldn't it be great if our next President appointed various experts to join a think tank? Sadly, the buddy system will still be in place whether it's a republican or a democrat who's elected in 88. Of course, that's still a long way away and if GW has his way the ballot may be a thing of the past...could be living in a Kingdom by then.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Alarming News

According to Canoe, a Canadian trade magazine dealing with waste management and recycling, there is a section of New Orleans where a subdivision was erected over a toxic waste dump. Is another Love canal in the offing? Is the government compounding an already overwhelming problem into another catastrophy which could be even more far reaching? Is the after-plan going to turn out to be worse than the pre-planning? Where's the think tank on this?

Monday, September 05, 2005

Addressing Survival

Our nation has two generations wherein the majority of them have no idea of what to do to personally survive a disaster. Why is that? Because our school systems simply have no courses that teach survival skills. How many people could have survived New Orleans if they'd been survival educated? How many do you think knew what a dehydrater is and how easy it is to build out of simple materials most of us have in our own home? Drinking water, the one element humans can't live without, can be dehydrated out of salt water and dirty water can be purified by anyone if they have the knowledge...and it doesn't take twelve glasses of water a day to keep the human body alive.

Popular television shows like 'Survivor' do not teach basic survivor skills. These shows are nothing but a product of the entertainment industry, and folks, it's just a contest with a big prize for the winner. 'Roughing it' on some island with a production crew off-camera and the choice to walk away just doen't relate to a real survival situation.

The educational system needs to make it mandatory to have survival classes. There would then be more real survivors in any disaster, be it lost in the woods or surviving major disasters like Hurricane Katrina--if you weather the storm then you can weather the aftermath, if you have been taught survival skills.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Great Misconception?

High school history books still aint Abraham Lincoln as the Great Emancipater. Herewith are words from his own mouth:
(From his speech in Chicago, July, 1858, when he was campaigning for the sentate) "Let us discard all this quibbling about this man and the other man, this race and that race and the other race being inferior, and therefore they must be laced in an inferior position. Let us discard all these things, and unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall once more stand up declaring that all men are created equal."
(Two months later campaigning in Southern Illinois) "I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people...and inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."
(In March, 1961, in his first inaugural address) "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."

So...was Lincoln the Great Emancipator? Or was he (like all politicians, then and now) simply catering to the mindset of the particular crowd he was speechifying to? Did his rise from the bottom of the heap to the top cause him to use his mastery of language to convince the working class white man that he thought as they did? Was his statement, "I have no purpose, directly or insirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists," meant to placate the southern and the rest of the northern states where slavery existed? I wonder...